Another day that feels like -15 is not even worth mentioning in what most Torontonians will tell you is the longest and hardest winter. I feel incredibly fortunate that I was able to wait out a week of the “polar vortex” in sleepy Solliman Bay in Tulum, Mexico. A week long food extravaganza where guac was a staple with every meal and in between; cucumber-lime water turned to cerveza before noon which lead into a chili margarita or two before dinner.
I never seem to tire of Mexican flavours, the savory heat of the peppers, the acidic tang of lime, grassy freshness of coriander. It is the cuisine that I crave the most, especially on a cold winter’s day. While it can’t exactly transport me back to that white sandy beach, it makes a winter’s day a little more bearable and somehow I can see that I’m going to make it till patio season at El Trompo Taco Bar.
With a scratchy throat and the aforementioned alcohol binge my body is craving a little chicken soup for the soul-Mexican styles. Sopa de Lima is Yucatan’s version of your Jewish grandmother’s soup-if you have one. My own grandmother’s chicken soup would have been version with cabbage and potatoes so I’m creating my own tradition based on what my body is craving; comforting spiced broth with colourful veg, a citrus punch and a healthy dose of Mexican penicillin.
2 corn or rice tortillas, cut into ¼” thick strips
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 plum tomatoes, cored
1 habanero chile, seeded and diced
6 cups chicken stock
4 limes (2 peeled of pith and roughly chopped, 2 for roasting)
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1 cinnamon stick
1 green pepper, julienned
1 red pepper, julienned
8 stalks cilantro
4 bone-in, skinless chicken breasts
avocado and cilantro to garnish
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
In a medium soup pot, saute the onions, red and green peppers and garlic in the oil until the onions are translucent. Add the chiles, cumin, thyme, oregano and saute for a few more minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes and sprinkle with a little salt and cook for a few more minutes. Add the stock, cilantro stalks and cinnamon stick, simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. Add the chicken breasts and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, about 25 mins. Remove chicken and transfer to a bowl to cool; remove and discard bones, and finely shred chicken. Set chicken aside. Add the lime juice and salt to taste.
To serve, divide shredded chicken among serving bowls, and then ladle soup into bowls. Garnish with tortilla crisps, chopped coriander, lime pieces and avocado. Serve immediately
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